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Unpretentious, fun, bachelorette party in LA area: help?

I've been a lurker on the boards for quite a while, and I'm finally posting for the first time because I need major help with planning my best friend's bachelorette party this August.

I've read through the posts (I searched under "bachelorette"), but none of the clubs/restaurants are really striking a chord with me. I'm originally from LA, moved away when I was 18, and now I'm in DC (I'm in my late 20s). So I'm completely unfamiliar with the LA area as far as restaurants/clubs/hotels and so forth, and really need some assistance!

Here's the deal: My girlfriend is pretty low-key, and we don't like pretension, i.e. the Sunset Strip isn't our style. I was hoping I could find a restaurant or lounge where we could have dinner and then drink and dance, and where the vibe would be pretty laid-back, but still social and fun. Preferably not a college-aged crowd. Does this exist?

Another idea I had, and I have no idea if this even exists, is a wine-tasting party. Like if there was a fun restaurant where we could have a dinner or appetizers and maybe pay a flat fee per person where a sommelier or wine enthusiast would come out with a bunch of wines and we'd taste and basically get tipsy and enjoy ourselves that way. Is this way-off base?

Good food is definitely a must, and nothing exorbitantly expensive.

I've had a few recommendations from random people, can you maybe tell me what you think about each and recommend/suggest a few others?

The Bungalow Club
Moun of Tunis
Asia de Cuba (this scares me, as Sky Bar seems a bit trendy/fancy/expensive)

Thank you SO much in advance...I know I'm picky and have high expectations, but you should see what she did for my bachelorette!! Insanity.

Thanks again!

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  1. No dancing, but Upstairs 2 at the Wine House could easily arrange a tasting for you. Their food is wonderful too!

    1. Moun of Tunis is fun..great feasts, and if you want you can get up and dance with the bellydancer. bt there is no dance floor per se.

      A lot of places will len you sommalier based tasting menu events, but it'll cost ya.

      Odessa is a russian place where you can get up and dance around, russian stlyle. Sort of Hoke fun.

      Great Greek has good greek food and the wiaters dance, then pull people up to dance with them, especailly cute girls. you could get the greek feast for the party.

      Here's my idea. Choose one of the girls to host your wine party. Go to beverly hills or silverlake wine and cheese and ask the guys there to set you up with a wine and cheese party. They can select everything. Wally's wine world will do that as well. Or get a good run of wines at Vendome (ask them to choose a good flight of your favorite varietal or grape) and take the wine list to a cheese place and have the match it.

      The little Next door could do a party with the wine, cheese and yummy ppetizers for you to take home.

      Then host the party at the girlfriend's place.

      1. Friends of mine recently had their bachelorette dinner at Bar Celona in Pasadena. Though it is definitely more on the scene scale than on the food scale, you might want to use that as a guide for your search. In other words, look for tapas joints, as any good tapas joint will also serve great wine. My favorite is Cobras and Matadors, but there's also Tasca and La Luna Negra.

        Personally, when I think of unpretentious fun, I think of Cha Cha Cha in Silver Lake for Caribbean faire and a killer pitcher of sangria.

        1 Reply
        1. Do you mean the Buffalo Club? I've not heard of the Bungalow Club, but I'm way older than you, so maybe it's something new.... The Buffalo Club would be fun. You could also split up the locations -- dinner in one place, entertainment somewhere else. I love the food at Asia de Cuba and I thought that the Sky Bar is separate. A dinner reservation on the patio at Asia de Cuba is a gorgeous setting, with great food, but I don't think it means you get into the Sky Bar. You should check that out and see if I'm right.

          There are some wine bars -- fairly new -- in Culver City and perhaps someone could could give you more info on those. One is called Wilson's.

          I think anything in Venice is fun. There's a tapas place on Abbot Kinney called Primitivos. Fun, young place.

          If you have a wine tasting party and everyone getts "tipsy" do you need to provide transportation home for the girls?

          You don't say where in Los Angeles or how many girlls, but I hope this helps.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Bite Me

            The Bungalow Club is apparently something new-ish in Hollywood? Here's the website...

            As far as where in LA, I'm open to anywhere: Pasadena, Hollywood, Los Feliz, Venice, downtown, etc. I have to figure out transportation (a whole 'nother issue), but I'm willing to go wherever. I have no idea how many girls; less than 10, I think.

            I'll look into the Asia de Cuba/Sky Bar situation...I'm a bit intimated of Sky Bar, but it's worth a phone call.

            It's hard planning this from across the country...yipes.

            I'm so all over the place...I think I'm at the beginning stages of planning where I'm trying to just figure out what kind of party I want to have and where it should be. I'm loving the Upstairs 2 idea as well as the Bar Celona idea...and I'll look at Buffalo Club, too, as I've heard a few people mention that place.

            Thanks again, guys. MUCH appreciated.

            1. re: MPJ

              Buffalo Club has very good food the one time I went, but it's on the pricey side and no dancing.

              Bungalow Club is more festive, lively, younger, and cheaper. Food is fine, and they have little cabanas in the outside patio area that is cute to sit in and eat. It gives you privacy but also still lets you check out the scene.

              Old Town Pasadena might be a good idea if you want to bar hop, but I find that the crowd tends to be young on weekends... heck, I used to go there when I was in college too!

              Santa Monica promenade area will be similar with an older crowd, I think. You could do dinner elsewhere, Huntley Hotel maybe, and then head down to one of the places on 3rd street. There was 217 (a small club/bar) and I was at old Rebecca's (don't know what it's called now) recently and they had dancing after dinner as well. Gotham (is it still called that?) has dancing and pool tables too.

              Good luck!! By the way, what did she do for your bachelorette? Just curious.. :)

              1. re: MPJ

                Thanks for the link to the Bungalow Club. I'll drop that into conversation with my two nieces (late 20s) and impress them! That looks like a very good option and the prices seemed reasonable (and are probably negotiable for a large party).

                You may want to find out where the bride to be and the other girls are located and pick the place based in part on the most convenient location.

                You could ask the special events person at Asia de Cuba if she can get your whole party into the skybar after dinner and, if so, what's the cost.

                Where did you girls like to hang out when you were growing up together in L.A.? It may be fun to try to recreate some of the ol' times.

                The Charthouse and Moonshadows on PCH are back in vogue these days (all re-done I think) and popular for drinks and ocean view -- you could call to see if they have dancing.

            2. A Brief Reminder, Folks-

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              2 Replies
              1. re: The Chowhound Team

                ^^Oooops...my first post and I'm a baaaad girl.

                I have so many suggestions/recommendations...thank you guys so much! I don't want to get any of us into "trouble." ;)

                While I'm here...anyone want to get into specifics of the foods at these restaurants? Now that I have an idea of where I want to go, I'd love insight into the food/drink specifics at each place.

                And spicychow -- it was in Santa Barbara, she reunited all of my old college friends, and she put together an amazing meal/evening for us (most of which I can remember). The whole thing was a surprise, and I was "kidnapped" and it was just such a great night.

                ETA: How is the food/drinks at World Cafe? I'm looking into that venue on a suggestion from a friend...I took a peek at the menu and it looked pretty standard...anything to write home about?

                1. re: MPJ

                  Haven't been there in a long time, but the drinks at World Cafe were above average, as was the atmosphere. I haven't eaten there, so I can't comment on the food. The nice thing about that choice is that it is on Main St in Santa Monica, so you could easily walk to other bars in the area--it's in a more happening area of L.A. (but not super-trendy like west hollywood/sunset strip).

              2. My first thought after reading your post was "Upstairs 2." My second thought was "violet." Though I did get rowdy once with friends at violet and got a nasty look from an adjacent table.

                I went to a 30th bday party for a friend at Bar Celona about a year ago. Great vibe and drinks; food was fine, but not as good as at Upstairs 2 or Violet. I like La Luna Negra better. Both are in Pasadena; not worth the drive if nobody lives near there.

                It seems like you want a place that's low-key but fun and will allow you to perhaps warm up for further fun once you leave the restaurant. So you want a place that's near some action (dancing, flirting, etc), in case you're looking for more than just food and wine at some point.

                How about some of the places along Abbot Kinney, like Primitivo (spanish tapas), Lilly's (french bistro) or Joe's (very fine Cal-French)? Then you're near a couple of cool joints like Hal's or The Brig if you want to walk into some more festivities. You can even stagger onto Main Street and hit any number of places for dancing and more drinking (The World Cafe, O'Briens, etc).

                Taxis are used to running people in and out of there so you won't have a problem arranging for transportation.

                2 Replies
                1. re: NAspy

                  I second Violet, and Air Conditioned is nearby for after-dinner drinks and dancing.

                  1. re: hrhboo

                    Is Air Conditioned the place where 310 Lounge was or something different?

                2. Try the Cameo Bar in Santa Monica where you can even rent your own cabana.

                  The Buffalo Club in Santa Monica would be good too.

                  Or, Nic's Martini Lounge in Beverly Hills might be perfectly low key, no real dancing though.

                  I also went to a really fun bachelorette party at Beauty Bar, where we did henna tattoos and had martinis; twas fun.

                  If you'll consider hotels, I'd look into the Hollywood Roosevelt, nice place to catch some sun together, as well as the Viceroy.

                  1. I don't want to throw another entire place into the mix as you've already spent a lot of time researching other ideas, but try the Belmont on La Cienega. They can arrange a great set menu for your group and can give you a section of the restaurant where you can have some space but still be in the thick of things.

                    1. The Bungalow Club was kind of boring/dead one time that I went. The food is very good, but nothing real great or special.

                      Asia de Cuba has fantastic food and is pretty lowkey and the crowd is older than college age, I think because it is on the expensive side. You generally cannot automatically get to the Skybar after eating at Asia d eCuba, but maybe if you call, they will arrange it for you somehow.

                      I second Wine House for tasting, but I don't know how their food is...

                      The Belmont is very fun and has great food, but it gets loud and jam packed on weekends and tends to skew towards the college age crowd.

                      Maybe think about Bottle Rock in Culver City. It's a fairly new place that is centered on wine tasting, and they have some light food available too. And there are are plenty of great new restaurants right by to go to if you want a real full meal.

                      Fogo de Chao is a fun restaurant - all you can eat meats and a fantastic salad bar. At dinner I think it's $50 per person. They have a suprisingly amazing wine list too. It's a nice place. It is a chain though. But I love it. Afterwards, you can easily drive a few blocks north to the Stone Rose Lounge at the Sofitel Hotel - nice lounge/bar, an outside area, great crowd. If it's a weekend night, you should call ahead to reserve a table (they don't make you buy a bottle or anything like that though - and they do also offer some light food and desserts, including their infamous "Junk Food Platter"). They have a DJ but no real designated dance area, but some people dance anyway.